Posted by Mr.HDH on Oct 12th, 2015
Putting the Solar Food Dehydrators to Work
When one thinks about homesteading or being self-reliant by growing a lot of your own food - food canning instantly comes to mind. While there is nothing wrong with canning (and there are certain things that can not be dried or dehydrated), when you live in the high desert (and you've had you well go dry once), you realize how much water and energy (heat to boil all the water) canning takes.
Being off-grid in the high desert, we try to stay away from things that unnecessarily use resources that are in short supply. However, in our location we have an overabundance of sunshine and low humidity - which makes it possible to use our solar dehydrators well into the late fall.
Last year we built a couple of very efficient solar dehydrators which get plenty of use throughout the year. We do our own organically grown food during harvest, and store bought organic fruits and veggies in the spring and summer. One day we'll do a post under the DYI Projects section on the building process.
We use the dehydrators (also know as food dryers) for just about everything - most fruits, most veggies, onions, kale, herbs - you name it. There are some photos below, just click on the thumbnail to see the larger version. One photo shows the inside temperature to be 150 degrees - and that's with the rear vent partially open. No electricity, no fire - just good old solar power.
There are times, depending on what we are dehydrating, where one day in the sun isn't enough - so we simply move the units inside from the deck and back out the next morning. I'll add wheels to them before next spring to make this easier.
If you are interested in solar dehydrating (before we can do the Project page for building the ones we did), just do use your favorite search engine and search for: build solar dehydrator - you will find dozens of models/plans/ideas.
We use either StartPage or DuckDuckGo for searches. Here is the above search ready to go in DuckDuckGo.